A couple of weeks ago, I missed my AP English vocabulary test because I was absent. This test included 60 terms that had to be memorized. The twist was that the test would be a word search. We would be given the definitions, but we had to remember the word and how it was spelled. For some, this would come easy, but for others it would take hard work. For me, it was hard work.
AP English is not an easy class and the words were not simple, everyday words. With words like idiosyncrasy, dysphemism, ignominious, etc, you had to know your stuff to do well. After making arrangements with my teacher, I came in after school to take my make-up test. I had studied so hard. In the car, at cheer practice, while brushing my teeth; I was determined to nail it. When I got there my teacher informed me something had come up for him and the 60-question test had to be crammed into 20 minutes. He told me I could come back another day, but nothing that worked for him worked for my schedule. I felt good about the words and told him I could pound it out. He was skeptical, but handed me the test.
Ready. Go. My heart was racing.
I was amazed how quickly I could recall so many words. Ten minutes in and I had finished the entire “across” portion; now onto the “down” section. The first 15 of the last 30 were a breeze, but then… then I got stuck. Really stuck. My teacher walked over and saw I had about 10 left to do. He was surprised and said, “Wow! You did 50 questions in 20 minutes, and above that you didn’t even cheat!” This caught me off guard. Cheating? He explained he was fed up because of some students’ lack of preparation resulted in lots of kids cheating. He then said, “I have to go. I trust you to finish up. Leave it on my desk and lock up when you’re done.” Then he quickly scrambled out the door.
Here I was. Stuck. Alone. All by myself in a classroom. The door was closed. Nobody was watching. If I didn’t get these last 10 right, I wouldn’t get the score I needed. I could easily pull out my vocabulary notes and fill the rest in. I’d get 100%. Easy. No stress. Perfect score. My teacher would never know. He already saw that I knew most of them. I had studied so hard, I deserved some “help.” These thoughts clouded my brain as I tried to finish my test.
“But Rachel, is your integrity worth a perfect score? Is it worth losing his trust in you as someone who is impeccably honest?” Instantly, I recognized the Holy Ghost. I thought of the Young Women’s theme I recite every week. “I will stand as a witness at all times, in all things, and in all places as I strive to live… with integrity.” Well I had my answer. All I could do was push through.
I took each question and answered it the best I could. There were some of the words for which I had no idea, so I just left them blank. I put it on his desk, turned off the light, and locked up the room. I walked out of the classroom feeling a bit upset. I had worked so hard and simply couldn’t remember.
The next day I looked up my grade online. It said 60/60. This wasn’t right. I didn’t even answer every question. I later learned my teacher recognized the temptation to cheat and I had received 100% simply because I had been honest.
It’s truly amazing the blessings that come from doing what’s right– even when nobody is watching.